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Matchmaking with Meaning

Matchmaking with Meaning

Don’t worry-this is not a column on relationships or 10 tips to find a New Year’s Eve date. I have a very poor track record as a matchmaker. In fact most of my friends know if I suggest a perfect match that is their cue to run the other way.

This saddens me because I love the idea of connecting people particularly if it could be a love match. I have been to a few weddings recently in which the bride and groom gush over the matchmaker friends that brought them together or in some cases the happy couple has connected through the magic of technology and scientific personality trait surveys. Whatever the method of making the match, I always feel a twinge of regret that I didn’t have anything to do with the process. I guess I am just an unfulfilled matchmaker that needs a new reason for bringing people together.

Fortunately my work at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation provides this frustrated matcher an outlet to make meaningful connections in our community. The matches are not romantic in nature but they are based on love and a desire to create a meaningful relationship.

Almost on a daily basis the team of change agents at the Foundation and I are connecting donors and philanthropists with each other and with causes and organizations in our region. Southwest Florida is filled with caring residents looking for ways to make a difference, but sometimes need help finding the perfect match. Research shows that both donors and organizations’ benefit most when the relationship is mutually fulfilling and rewarding.

Imagine feeling passionate about a cause or issue but not being able to find an outlet to make a difference in that area. Believe me, there are a lot of compassionate people who want to help but don’t always know where to start.

We want to be the of change in Southwest Florida. At the Foundation, we are committed to making meaningful connections. Over the past year we have invited folks in for roundtables to meet others from around the region, provided tours of local organizations, established new funds for areas of interest that we had previously not funded, convened philanthropists, activists and residents even policy makers to discuss and find solutions to our most pressing issues and provided platforms for nonprofits to design, execute and communicate their ideas.

A few days before Christmas, one of our Donor Advised Fund holders called the office looking for opportunities to provide some surprise holiday funds to local nonprofits. A few months ago he had participated in the Foundation’s “Compassionate Shark Tank,” in which nearly 30 organizations presented their programs and ideas to 16 unique donors and funders. At the time of the Shark Tank he funded a few ideas, but now he wanted to be matched with a some of the other groups he had not previously funded. He had already met them and learned about their ideas, but admits would have never known their need had it not been for us making the connection.

A successful match–my matchmaking career has a real future!

If you are looking for your perfect philanthropic match, email me at [email protected]


photo by


Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More